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tv   University of Wisconsin World War I Exhibit  CSPAN  August 20, 2015 6:00pm-6:16pm EDT

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the pilotage and project, a program administered by the johnson administration to improve poor relations between the police and the community in washington, d.c., after the 1968 or luther king assassination and subsequent riots. get our complete schedule at c-span.org. visitsc-span cities tour literary in a sort sites -- historic sites every other weekend on c-span 2's book tv and c-span 3 american history tv. this month with congress on summer recess, city tour is on c-span each day at 6:00 p.m. today we look at the literary life of madison, wisconsin. our first stop is an exhibit at the university of wisconsin at madison called world war i 1914, then came armageddon. we are on the ninth floor of the memorial library and a special collection the
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university of wisconsin madison. in the middle of an exhibition thend world work i 1914, came armageddon. it highlights the collections at the university library system as well from the wisconsin historical society. different artifacts related to not only wisconsin's role in the war but also what was happening in each country when the conflict began in the summer of 1914. the war broke out in the summer 1914 after france ferdinand, the archduke and air to the austro-hungarian throne was assassinated by a member of a serbian military group called the black hand. his goal was to bring all serbs together in one country, independent of us -- of austro-hungarian empire. austria put pressure on serbia
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to allow them to conduct an investigation. serbia acquiesced on all of austria's demands, except that austria be able to use their own police in serbian territory. this led to a standoff and a military confrontation when austria most real -- mobilized against serbia, russia declared that they would help defend the serbs. russia to stop a mobilization and threatened to declare war. a would not back down in germany declared war, and then it's a cascading effect which then france stepped in in support of russia. then when germany invaded france by way of belgium, britain declared war to defend belgian neutrality. we chose to focus on the western front for practical reasons. that is where the strength of
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the holdings of the university of wisconsin are. so, a lot of material on germany's role as well as what was happening in belgium and france. and so, we wanted to bring these sources to the fore. and really sort of focus on just the western combat experience. ok, so these first cases in the collection focus on the outbreak of the war. so, here is what we are calling germany mobilizes for war. and with in the case, you can see different images of, here, for example, crowds assembled in berlin to receive news that germany was declaring war on russia. and right here, the keiser is greeting a crowd from the royal palace, and the -- kaiser will helm is sitting on his horse. one of the more interesting aspects we have for this exhibit are the material culture objects that were donated. within this case, we have two different pins that were passed
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around in germany during the war. these include a pin calling on germans not to forget their colonies. a reminder that germany was fighting not just for its territory in europe, but also its holdings in africa. showhen there is a pin to solidarity with the combatants. a pin of a german helmet which a in order to waeear signify their loyalty. one scene that was heavily representative in the uw madison collection was anti-german propaganda. and a lot of this in the u.s. focused on the german invasion of france by way of belgium. in this case, we have once again the idea that germany has violated belgian neutrality. that is reflected in this pamphlet. is steppingfe through the german treaty with belgium.
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but also, we have a couple of nice images. for example, this image from reality in which the germans re bombing 2000 children and calling it military necessity. then this pamphlet that was --en out in new york thousands of little children's of france are crying to you to save them from german frightful mess. idea is that germany is committing crimes against civilians. there are a lot of books put out against germany that claim to tell the truth about what germany is doing in belgium, tell the truth about the german to highlightust the different atrocities germany is committing against the civilian population throughout the front. it is germany versus civilization. the idea being that germany is not fit to stand among the
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members of western europe. book calledis conquest and couture. there is something flawed within german culture that led them to anrt this war and engage in -- against the belgian civilian population. what is interesting about the first world war is that the print culture is so advance that even in putting together this exhibit, we were sort of swimming in sources. it is not the first time that propaganda is used, but it is certainly a very treasure trove of propaganda. a lot of this propaganda in this belgian cases aimed at trying to get americans to put pressure on the civilian government to join the war. so, america is neutral all the way until 1917. 1915e materials from 1914, are trying to show that america needs to fight because it is an
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unjust conflict. but there is a clear case of evil represented by germany. that needs to be stopped. re further damages done to the belgian and french civilian population. all of these cases are overstated. it is true that germany would commit reprisals against civilian populations, for aample, if there --there was sharpshooter in a belgian order to findin a sharpshooter, germany would shoot unarmed civilians in reprisal. but there are lots of stories, for example, the most famous is the idea that germany is bayoneting belgian babies, which are not true. one of the things that is interesting in the second world war is that this leads the allies to downplay stories of german atrocities being committed in eastern europe because the case was so overstated in the first world war. cases, of the outbreak
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we try to capture part of the mood of the country at the beginning of the conflict. sort of to get at what is the message of all of these different sources from 1914. case ofexample, in the france, it is overwhelming that france is fighting a defensive war, it has been attacked by germany and the french nation needs to rise up and defend the home front. have, forse, you example, a french soldier in the war to saying "no one shall pass." germany has taken part of france but will not take any more territory. it'sin these images here, actually french soldiers leaping straight out of paris in order to go and confront germany on the western front. there were a lot of memoirs written about the combat experience of the first world war. and one of the most popular in "under fire" in which
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he recounts his combat experience. praises theny, he combat experience as a heroic. more on thech trauma of combat, the ways in which it is not glorious. how it's traumatic for the combatants. what is interesting with these authors is that they come after combat, but the experience as men are living it is not widely circulated during the war. frenchre's, with the case, the german case, with the crowds gathering before the keiser, there is the sense that all political differences need to be set aside. a sacredlls this union. in germany, the keiser says i know longer see political parties. all i see are germans.
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the idea being that united we can conquer our foes. and conquer them quickly. what is interesting about the first world war is that none of the countries had a territorial state on any of the other countries. the war that germany had in mind when they decided to engage france and russia, having no real legal cause to attack france after declaring war on 1871, inas the war of which germany one quickly against the french army. and this idea that we would be home by christmas is something all sides shared. germany believe that they would arrive in paris, force a treaty on france. maybe take a little more territory and that the conflict would be over.
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no one would imagine that when the two armies met it would lead to such blood said -- bloodshed. within this collection at uw madison, there is a sense, a sense of knowledge that this is going to be a cataclysmic confrontation. on the western front, the armies were equipped with very effective defensive weapons but not highly effective offensive weapons. things like bob rya-- barbed wire, a machine gun are really good for holding a position but not useful for breaking through. as the war developed, each side attempted to find new offensive weapons in order to counter the strong defensive positions that were opposite them in the western front. and this took a number of development. and these included things like poison gas, the flamethrower, on tank, putting guns
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airplanes, all of which were aimed at trying to get over the trenches. and so in this case, we tried to highlight these different new technologies. we have a map of what it was like to be in the interior of a tank. if you look closely, you can see this tank required six men. and they were in very cramped conditions. there were ski unit set up to fight in the alps. some men who had to learn to fire while on skis. of thethem, i think one biggest results of the changes in warfare were casualty figures. the number of dead.
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and one of the reasons that people, that neither side was willing to back down is that they were trying to make the sacrifice worth something, to come up with some reason for all so many deaths, that young men had given their lives in defense of something that meant something. and that is also helping to drive -- trying to come up with a wonder weapon, some sort of new technology that will finish off the opposition in order to lead to peace. they needed to force a decisive defeat. they needed to defeat the enemy in such a way that they would have no choice but to surrender. both sides were surprised by the number of casualties. that is the origins of this anxiety. that it would not be a quick fight. it would also shift the weight
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-- the way in which the european society -- society was structured/ . the germans realize they would not be able to stop the western front once america joined. they asked a civilian government to form to sue for peace. the keiser went into exile which was part of wilson's demands for an unconditional surrender. and ultimately, the treaty -- theys the tree were responsible for the war. germany had to reimburse france and britain for the cost of the war. germany lost all of their colonies. their german territories of all sauce -- alsace lorrain. which leads to the second world war.
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change thee to treaty which germans viewed is unfair. they did not see themselves as solely responsible for the outbreak of the war. we look at protests in madison wisconsin against the vietnam war. we will hear from author david maraniss as well as an antiwar activist from madison and the mayor of the state's capital. >> can you tell us what you are working on. david: i just finished writing the last lines on a book on detroit. the name is going to be "the communicators. -- "once in a great city: why detroit mattered ." >> can you give us a background as to what the book is about? david: first, i tell you a story about how the idea came to me. it was little unusual. it was in february of 2011.

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